01/21/2020, 12.07
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Chinese virus: Beijing confirms human-to-human transmission

The fourth victim is an 89-year-old man who lived in Wuhan, the epicenter of the infection. Another 15 medical workers who treated infected patients are hospitalized with the same symptoms. Worldwide countries have airport checks on flights from China.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The mysterious coronavirus that has emerged in China in recent months and already spread to three Asian countries is transmitted from human-to-human, Beijing authorities confirmed yesterday.

Meanwhile the number of deaths caused by the unknown virus, now called 2019-nCoV, has risen to four. Authorities also report that 15 health workers who have been in contact with patients in Wuhan, where the disease was diagnosed, are hospitalized for pneumonia, and one of them in critical condition.

The fourth victim of the virus, similar to Sars but with less aggressive traits, is an 89-year-old man who lived in Wuhan, the center of the infection. China's National Health Commission reports that two other people were found infected in Guangdong province.

A true "virus-mania" is spreading throughout Asia and some western countries, following the cases reported in Japan, Thailand and South Korea. The authorities attempt to run for cover by increasing controls at airports. At the moment the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Italy have announced greater investigations on all flights arriving from the Chinese city from which the virus has spread.

Wuhan, in central China, is a metropolis with 11 million inhabitants. Thousands of travelers pass through the town every year. This is why experts fear the outbreak of an epidemic especially in this period, when millions of people move on the occasion of the Lunar New Year.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus may have originated in the seafood or animal market in Wuhan. For scientists, the official number of recorded cases is 218, but several experts say that the number of people infected would already be 1,700 in China alone.

The unknown virus manifests itself with pneumonia-like symptoms. The signs of the infection include breathing difficulties, fever, shortness of breath and cough. The main concerns stemmfrom the possibility of transmission through human contact, as was the case in 2002-2003 with the Sars epidemic (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) which killed nearly 650 people between China and Hong Kong.

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